I didn’t think I’d be able to see a movie this week because of the holidays, but I’d forgotten how the combination of early rising and overeating always makes my family unfit for anything but comas and movie watching by Christmas evening. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was acceptable to all, even though it was a) a remake and b) possibly too focused on visuals and c) likely to be a dream in the end.
A photographic negatives manager at Life magazine travels the world looking for his photographer friend after he discovers the final issue cover image is missing.
Now that I’ve seen it I’m happy to say that Walter Mitty did everything right. It was not (spoiler alert) all dream in the end. The visuals complimented the story instead of trying to BE the story. And the remade version is different enough from both the original short story and the first movie to be considered a completely new entity. I recommend it!
Until I saw the trailer for Saving Mr. Banks, I had no real desire to watch Mary Poppins (too cutesy) or read the book (because I had no idea it existed). But in the interests of knowing what the hell they were talking about, I read the book and watched the movie the day before I went to see Saving Mr. Banks. I was surprised to discover how different they were, a circumstance which is explained in this movie.
Mary Poppins author Pamela Travers refuses to sell Walt Disney the rights to her stories until the re-writes address wounds left over from her own childhood.
Now that I’ve seen Saving Mr. Banks, I’m awfully glad I ‘did my research’ so to speak. This movie seems to assume you’re familiar with the book and movie (though I think you could get by with only having seen the movie). You may be confused if you aren’t. On the whole though, it was a very good movie.
I’m not a J.R.R. Tolkien fan, and after the epically too-long nothing-fest that was The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, I wasn’t looking forward to Desolation of Smaug either. In fact, I was all geared up to see Saving Mr. Banks this week until I found out we weren’t going to get it here. So here I am, talking about the second of three movies that should have been one.
A raiding party of dwarves travel to a deserted mountain kingdom to steal a special gem from the dragon who displaced them many years ago.
The most I was really hoping for from Desolation of Smaug was that it be bearable. And it looked like it was going to be – in the beginning it was fun and lively and interesting. But then it went on and on and on and on and on and finally ended with no payoff for any of the plots they were developing, so in the end I wasn’t impressed.
Disney has been taking a lot of flak lately for how old fashioned their Princess line is. The princesses are too white. Too pink. Too rich. Too blonde. Too skinny. Too hung up on finding a man, etc. None of it, however, seems to have made a dent in their bottom line, so we can expect them to continue making princess movies (albeit with the odd concession to reality) until the end of time. The latest is Frozen.
A lonely Norse princess teams up with a hermit, a reindeer, and a snowman to talk her superpowered sister into unfreezing their kingdom.
As with the last two princess movies, Brave and The Princess and the Frog, Disney has attempted to be more modern with Frozen, but at the same time they’ve tried to hearken back to the old days by making it a musical. The result is cute and funny, but I just didn’t feel like it worked as a story.
With the exception of a couple of blips, I like the Hunger Games book series. One of the blips was the first person present tense narration, which was carried over into the film adaptation in the form of a lot of unnecessary and annoying close-up shaky-cam work. With director Gary Ross replaced by Francis Lawrence for the sequel, I hoped that Catching Fire might be an improvement over The Hunger Games.
A pair of traumatized teens are forced to compete in a second bout of televised gladiatorial combat after they become symbols of rebellion against the government.
I went into Catching Fire hoping for it to be a little better than The Hunger Games but I was surprised to find that it was a LOT better. They got rid of the confusing direction. They took more time to explore the dystopian aspects of the world. And best of all they didn’t shove the main character’s other (more suitable) love interest aside this time.
We didn’t get any new movies at our theater this week, which was just as well. I didn’t really want to watch the movie adaptation of the book I hated too much to finish (The Book Thief). Or the movie that made no sense in a trailer that was set to a song about rape (Best Man Holiday). I did, however, want to see About Time when it came out a couple of weeks ago, eclipsed by Thor: The Dark World and Ender’s Game.
A young lawyer with a genetic ability to travel in time uses his power to make sure the woman he loves falls in love with him.
Time travel stories are difficult to pull off. It’s very easy to get tripped up by your own world rules and end up breaking them just to keep the story moving in the direction you want. About Time makes it look easy, though, largely by devoting almost no thought to the mechanics and all its thought to the romance – which is sweet but not syrupy. The whole thing is extremely well done.
Thor isn’t my favorite superhero. He’s not even my favorite Avenger. But when I’m ranking my favorite standalone films, Thor’s come second only to Iron Man’s. Why? Two reasons: hilarity and scienceyness. Thor was hilarious in the first half and then mostly gave way to smashing and arguing, and when I saw the trailer for The Dark World I was worried it would be ALL smashing and arguing.
Thor enlists his untrustworthy brother Loki’s help when dark elves try to unleash a weapon that will turn the universe into dark matter.
Luckily, my fears were completely unfounded. Thor: the Dark World was peppered with jokes and fun scienceyness all the way through, which officially makes it even better than the first film. I loved it and if you’re into sci-fi or action comedies, I think you will too, even if you haven’t seen Thor or The Avengers.
I was looking forward to this movie. Not because of Wiki Leaks, though. I only vaguely remember it from when it was in the news years ago. It wasn’t really the friendship story, either. I mean, I enjoyed The Social Network, which had a similar dynamic, but that wasn’t enough to tempt me away from 12 Years a Slave. So: confession time. The reason I chose The Fifth Estate was to see Rush‘s Daniel Bruhl in action again.
A German computer programmer gets drawn into a friend’s plan to solicit and release confidential documents in the name of public transparency.
Luckily, The Fifth Estate is a story about people (Julian Assange and Daniel Berg) more than a story about a thing (Wiki Leaks). The script kind of winds the characters up and lets them go, and the result is almost as wrenching as Anakin and Obi-Wan fighting in a river of lava. I loved it.
Back in June when I was visiting my brother in Toronto, we were invited to be in the test audience for The Right Kind of Wrong. We both like Ryan Kwanten and Sara Canning but really, all we needed to hear was “free movie.” We *may* have had to lie slightly to get in (no, officer, we are not involved in the film industry in any way) but it looked good so I badgered Dennis into it.
An unsuccessful novelist whose ex-wife wrote a best-selling blog-turned-book about how much he sucks decides to win the love of a woman he met on her wedding day.
We had to promise not to talk about it before they released it, but it came out on Friday so now I can tell you that The Right Kind of Wrong was amazing! It was fun, hilarious, gorgeous, cleverly written, and it made us happy. Everyone in the theater loved it. The craziest part: it’s Canadian!
Being lost and alone is something that almost everyone is afraid of, which is why horror movies about being lost in forests, houses, desert islands, oceans, and space ships have all done so well. As we saw with Open Water, however, it can be a challenge to make sure there’s enough for the lost people to do without resorting to convenience. If Gravity was going to have a problem, I imagined that would be it.
Two space astronauts find themselves struggling for survival in space after their shuttle is destroyed by orbital debris.
And while its true that Gravity does occasionally rely on luck (both good and bad) and it does play fast and loose with science, it doesn’t matter, because you’ll be too busy gnawing off your own fingers in agonized tension to get picky over details. Seriously, I’ve never been so wound up by a movie in my life.